By Michael Bower
Matt Osborne was perfect through five-plus innings, Nikko Holm belted a towering two-run homer and the Rancho Bernardo High baseball team coasted to a 7-0 victory over host Del Norte Monday in a North County Tournament game.
Osborne, who consistently pounded the outside corner with his 85-87 mph fastball, retired the first 13 hitters he faced – eight via strikeout – and carried a perfect game into the fifth inning before Del Norte’s Connor Toor broke it up with a one-out single to right field.
The 6-foot, 4-inch right-hander, Osborne, would finish with 10 strikeouts and allowed just two hits over six innings of fast-paced work. Eight of the Nighthawks’ 10 strikeouts against Osborne were looking.
“I had a good rhythm going and was just pumping the fastball in there,” Osborne said. “They were not seeing the fastball so I really didn’t need to mix it up.”
Osborne struck out the side in the second and fifth innings. Drew Davis, who had an RBI single in the third, tossed a perfect seventh inning to secure the victory.
The Broncos took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, when Holm followed a Matt Jervis single with a home run over the right-field wall. Rancho Bernardo tacked on a run in the second inning and broke it open with a four-run third.
Preston Sands finished with two doubles and an RBI. Jacob Monks had a two-run double, while Jervis had another solid day at the plate, finishing 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. Rancho Bernardo had nine hits in the game, which came just two days after the Broncos were no-hit by Granite Hills.
“Being no-hit kind of woke us up a little bit,” said catcher Alex Jackson, who verbally committed to the University of Oregon Saturday. “We were just not being aggressive, and now we are back to being ourselves and being aggressive and jumping on those pitches.”
It was the first loss of the season for the Nighthawks, which opened the year with five straight wins. Del Norte coach Rielly Embrey said it was a good for his team to face a top-notch team like Rancho Bernardo.
“It is always good to play great competition and when you play Rancho Bernardo you know that is what you are going to get,” he said. “They are about as good as it gets in our county. I think it is good for our guys to see that early in the season.”
The Nighthawks did match zeros with the Broncos for the final four innings of the game, but only threatened the score in the sixth inning. Del Norte loaded the bases with two outs, but Osborne was able to get a pop out to end the inning.
“They jumped on us early and we settled down after that,” Embrey said. “It was a good baseball game. But that is the difference between a veteran team like that. They got on us early and knew how to put us away.”